Resources for Health Care Providers

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Every health care provider can play a critical role in helping to end this pandemic. Find resources below, and let us know if you have questions. 

Reporting Criteria for release from isolation
Testing Hospital discharge reporting
Clinical presentation  Vaccines
Infection prevention / PPE Additional resources

Reporting COVID-19 Cases

Please use the COVID-19 Confidential Morbidity Report to report a case of COVID-19. 

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COVID-19 Testing in Health Care Settings

For the most current recommendations regarding testing, refer to the CDPH Updated Testing Guidance: Updated COVID-19 Testing Guidance (ca.gov) and the CDC: Resources for Laboratories Working on Coronavirus (COVID-19) | CDC

Laboratory-based PCR testing is the most sensitive and specific of the available COVID-19 testing options. 

Point-of-Care (POC) tests (both antigen and molecular) are of varying sensitivity and specificity. Please be aware of the sensitivity and specificity of the specific brand of point-of-care test before it is used. Generally in the health care setting, a POC test must be confirmed with a laboratory-based PCR test only in the case of a negative antigen test in a symptomatic individual. An individual in such a situation must be directed to self-isolate pending the result of the laboratory-based PCR test.

For asymptomatic screening testing in high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care, sports, dormitories), testing should be conducted at a minimum of once per week. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the preceding 90 days should NOT participate in asymptomatic screening testing.

COVID-19 Testing for Medical Providers. Please use the COVID-19 Testing Referral Form to request testing for medical providers in SLO County. 

No-cost community testing sites are available across San Luis Obispo County. These sites provide laboratory-based PCR testing for the public, by appointment. See locations and sign up for a free COVID-19 test

Outbreak Response Testing and Other Testing Support. For consultation regarding response to an outbreak, please contact Rick Rosen, MD at [email protected]. For questions regarding testing support and supplies, please contact Amber Carbo at [email protected].

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Clinical Presentation and Symptom Screening for COVID-19

​CDC and CDPH continue to recommend regular symptom screening for patients, visitors, and staff in the healthcare setting. For updated tools to assist with symptom screening and the current list of COVID-19 symptoms, refer to the CDC's COVID-19 symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

It is not unusual to see rapid deterioration in patients one week after illness onset. In those individuals who experience acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), median time from symptom onset is 8-12 days.

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Criteria for Release from Isolation

Providers may refer to the isolation guidance when advising patients on their isolation duration: 

www.slocounty.ca.gov/COVID-19/More/Quarantine-Isolation.aspx#isolation

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Hospital Discharge Reporting Process of Confirmed COVID-19 Patients

The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department (PHD) asks all hospitals in the county to report any confirmed COVID-19 patient discharges. Approval from the PHD is not required for discharge.

When discharging confirmed COVID-19 patients to long-term care facilities (SNF, ICF, AL, ARF), the hospital must first consult with the facility to confirm their ability to take the patient. If unable to find a long-term care facility that will accept the patient, please report this in your email or phone call.

Prior to discharge, hospitals will fax the following information to (805)781-5543 or call (805)781-5500 to report the following information:

  • Patient Name 

  • Date of Birth 

  • Admission Date 

  • Discharge Destination (Home or Facility Name) 

  • Symptoms Present OR Asymptomatic? 

  • Anticipated Discharge Date If the patient is being discharged to a long-term care facility (SNF, ICF, Assisted Living, ARF)

After being informed of the discharge, Public Health Department staff will contact the receiving long-term care facility and ask them the following questions: 

  • Confirm patient that is being discharged (Patient Name & DOB) 

  • Does the facility have the PPE resources necessary to care for this patient?

  • If not, what PPE resources does your facility need to care for this patient? 

  • Does the facility have the capability to isolate the patient? 

  • Does the facility have sufficient staffing to be able to care for this patient?

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Infection Prevention and Control / Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

In the health care setting: 

  • All patients and all staff in a health care/clinical setting should be directed to wear face coverings for source control when indoors and other people are present.
  • N95s should be made available to all staff for all clinical situations.
  • Eye protection (face shields or goggles) should be made available to all staff for all clinical situations.

Protect yourself: Minimum personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations for health care providers caring for suspect or confirmed COVID-19 patients:

 

Situation

Minimum PPE Recommendations

Contact with patients with known or suspected COVID-19 (includes both isolation and quarantine units)

  • N95 or higher-level respirator
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves if hands-on activities with patient (e.g., physical exam, procedure) OR aerosol-generating procedure
  • Gown if close contact with patient (e.g., moving patient from bed to chair, helping patient with bathing) OR aerosol-generating procedure

Contact with patients in whom COVID-19 status is not known

  • Surgical facemask or higher-level respirator
  • Eye protection IF level of community transmission is moderate or high (greater than or equal to 5 cases per 100,000 population)

Performing aerosol-generating procedures or inducing cough with patients in whom COVID-19 status is not known

  • N95 or higher-level respirator IF level of community transmission is moderate or high
  • Surgical facemask or high level respirator IF level of community transmission is low (less than 5 cases per 100,000 population)
  • Eye protection IF level of community transmission is moderate or high
  • Gloves IF level of community transmission is moderate or high

 

See CDC guidance for detailed guidance on Sequence for Putting On and Safely Removing PPE

If you are exposed without adequate PPE: Health care workers who are not fully vaccinated who have been exposed to a suspect or confirmed COVID-19 patient without the minimum recommended PPE should be excluded from work for a minimum of 10 days after exposure or a minimum of 7 days with a negative test on or after day 5. However, if the health care worker is asymptomatic, they may continue to work if options to improve staffing have been exhausted and their occupational health program has been consulted. In such a case, the post-exposure, asymptomatic health care worker must wear a face mask while at work for 14 days after the exposure. If the worker develops even mild fever or respiratory symptoms, they must cease patient care activities and notify their supervisor or occupational health program.

This guidance may be modified as conditions change.

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Additional Resources for Health Care Providers

COVID-19 Provider Health Advisories for San Luis Obispo County 

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Guidance for Health Care Facilities

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance for Health Care Providers

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Other COVID Therapies

The COVID-19 vaccine offers the best defense against the virus that causes COVID-19. In addition to the vaccine, some other therapies may help your patients if they get sick with COVID-19.

Other COVID Therapies

 

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Vaccines

Every health care provider can play a role in connecting patients with vaccine and helping end this pandemic. The Public Health Department has dedicated resources to support you.